Monday, January 31, 2011

The Last Fifteen Minutes of a Second Date

Two words: No sex.
Two more words: Too soon.
Even though you feel like you’ve known each other all your lives, it’s really only been two nights, or an afternoon and an evening, or ten minutes and lunch. You get the picture. You don’t know each other — don’t get to know each other under the sheets.
Physical intimacy blurs the emotional intimacy of a relationship. It’s hard to see things clearly when hormones are involved. A second date isn’t even a relationship yet, so sex confuses the whole deal. Making out is okay. Making out passionately is cool. Just don’t go any further than that until you know each other better. Ask yourself if you’d be embarrassed the next day if the previous night of lovemaking turned out to be a disaster. If the answer is “well, yeah,” then the answer to sex has to be “well, no.” Never have sex with anyone whose middle name you don’t know.

Trust or Consequences

Trusting someone instantaneously can be just as devastating as suspecting an ulterior motive behind everything he or she says. True trust takes time. No shortcuts allowed. Remember: Your date is just your date; he or she isn’t your friend. Even if you’ve been chatting for months online, trust still takes a lot of together time. If your date wants you to give more than you’re willing to give at this early stage, don’t be afraid to say so . . . and stick to your guns. If, on the other hand, you don’t want to “slip” and divulge any clues as to where you live or work, what you do for a living, or what color your hair really is, you may be a touch paranoid. Yeah, the world can be a dangerous place. But if you trust someone enough to agree to a second date, it’s only fair to let him or her get to know you. This isn’t a CIA investigation. It’s a date. Chill out. Particularly if you’re over 30, avoid what I call the Blitz School of Dating. That’s when you’ve been there, done that, and you don’t want to waste any time. You want to book a table in a quiet restaurant where the waiter won’t bother you for the two hours you take to chronologically pour out your life story, hear your date’s, and determine if this union has legs. While the Blitz approach has been known to work on occasion, I don’t recommend it. Part of the mystery and magic of getting to know someone is getting to know someone, not hearing how well they know themselves Finally, resist the temptation to ask yourself the $64,000 question: Is this the one? Is this second date with the person with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life? Have babies with? Rock on the porch with? Watch go gray? While the urge may be there to weigh every second date on the “forever scale,” don’t give in to it. Distract yourself. It’s too soon. A relationship hasn’t even taken flight yet.
If your worst enemy knew what you’re telling your second date, could he or she use it against you? If the answer is yes, keep it under wraps for now. If not, go for it.

Getting to Know You

The info-exchange process on a second date is fun and exciting and interesting and a bit tricky. Unlike a first date, which is pretty superficial, a second date delves a little deeper. You already know you like each other enough to find out more. How much more remains to be seen. For now, you want to be vulnerable enough to let your date see who you really are without showing all your warts at once. (A wart or two is okay.) You want your date to feel comfy enough to share a wart or two with you.
To get the good stuff, you’ve got to give it. Trust me — your date won’t open up if you just sit there with your arms crossed. Though a second date usually shifts the conversational focus away from you and onto your date, striking a balance between being a good listener and an interesting and sincere talker is crucial — and not always easy or comfortable right away. First, know your personality type before the second date even starts. Are you the strong, silent type? A Chatty Cathy? Knowing who you are can help you tone down your natural tendency to clam up or blab on and on.
Second, periodically gauge how things are going. Here are some basic rules:
  • If you feel you know everything about your date and your date knows nothing about you, it’s time to open up.
  • If your date has been nodding for the past hour, it’s time to hush up.
  • If your time together seems more like a stand-up routine than a conversation, take a deep breath and focus on getting more insight, less laughs.
  • If your date sounds more like a job interview than a chat, it’s time to get a bit more personal.
  • If your date blushes each time you ask him or her a question, it’s time to get less personal.
  • If the conversation on your second date keeps grinding to a screeching halt, ask yourself if it’s you or your date. One of you is uncomfortable. It’s okay to flat-out say, “We had such fun the last time we went out. Is something making you uncomfortable?” If the answer is no and the conversation still limps along, you may be looking at a second, and final, date.